Monday, July 30, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Letters from Riesling

Hello Friends & Family,

Sofee dog has trying to help me with my crawling skills.  Although sometimes it seems like she's just trying to get away from me, which I don't understand because I just want to be her friends.  She has such soft ears for me to grab, trying to catch her tail is such a fun game,  and I only tried to put her paw in my mouth once.  That is before Mommy stopped me.  "Not for Riesling."  That's the new thing she says to me.  What does that even mean, not for Riesling?  How is some stuff not for me?  Why is some stuff ok for mommy though?  I mean sometimes she's putting it right up to her own mouth, which is exactly what I want to do.  She sometimes throws in "Hot!" just to confuse me even further.  I guess it's just a crazy mixed up world out there.  

Love always, 

Make your own ice tea

I've been experimenting with making my own ice teas.  Basically I just make hot tea then put it in the fridge.  Not exactly rocket science but I have been trying out a few different preparation methods and this is what I've decided works best for me:  add 2 tea bags to a mason jar, fill with hot water (I use a tea kettle to heat the water), let cool until able to touch the jar, then screw on lid and cool in fridge over night.

I like this method for a few reasons.  The mason jars take up less space in the fridge than making a larger pitcher; I can make more than one variety of tea at a time; and when you're ready for a glass you can spruce it up to your liking.  By doubling up the tea bags you can get 2 servings per jar by pouring the desired amount to a new glass filled with ice and your desired garnishments.  So far I've been going with 3 different varieties:

Green Tea
We always have a few different varieties of green tea on hand.  I either add lemon and some fresh mint from the garden or add this to a protein smoothie (half the water I usually use & half green tea) with frozen bananas, almond butter, and flax oil.

Nursing Support Tea
I started drinking a cup of the this in every afternoon when Riesling was around 3 months but the habit tapered off as the weather heated up.  I just couldn't stand a hot beverage in the middle of the day.  It has a bit of a floral taste and I usually just drink it over ice.  Some times I add a squeeze of lemon if I have it on hand.  It's also nice because this is obviously only something I drink so I like the space saving aspect of the jars.

Chai Spice Tea
Mix with almond milk and a touch of sweetener (I used agave nectar but sugar or even sweetened almond milk would work as well).  If you love ice chai lattes you have to give this a try!  I made a pitcher of this and brought it to a dinner with a friend who is a chai lover and it was a big hit.  

Cool, refreshing & homemade.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Catching Up

A little catch up is in order, don't you think?  Mostly I've been busy rolling around, playing,  and tickling my little monkey.

She's just so interactive and fun right now.  I can hardly pull myself away to get anything productive done, so forget the ole blog.  She has taken to longer daytime naps and will sleep independently in her crib, so I use that time to race around like crazy and get some household chores under control.  But don't go snooping around in the corners or  under my couch because there are definitely big, disgusting dust balls and lord knows what else hanging out there.

The garden is heading into heavy production season.  Thanks to Jim's hard work and a mild winter, we've had a pretty steady supply of fresh produce. But things are really starting to pick up now to the point where we will have to be diligent about including the fresh stuff in our meal planning so nothing goes to waste....fresh salsa, bruschetta, zucchini fritters and eggplant pizza are on our weekend menu....maybe even some fresh pesto if I get really ambitious.  I've also been experimenting with ice tea varieties and refrigerated oatmeal. Hopefully I'll get some food/recipe related posts up soon.

The pool filter pump is broken.  Stupid pool.  It's so freaking high maintenance.  It's lucky that Riesling LOVES the pool now because I think Jim might be tempted to fill it full of dirt otherwise.

He'll be spending the afternoon replacing the motor on the pump while Riesling and I attend a bridal shower at The Melting Pot.   I'm not sure what sounds like more torture....mechanical repairs when you don't really know what the hell you're doing or taking your grabbing, exploring infant to a place filled with hot fondue pots.


Monday, July 23, 2012


"There is more to life than increasing its speed."

~ Gandhi

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Hot Pepper Story. Part II

Do you know about Jim's hot pepper story?  If not you definitely need to read it.  Knowing the characters involved certainly makes it a bit more humorous but a good laugh nonetheless. I think the whole experience, combined with Jim's existing distaste for spicy foods, really limited any desire to test or experiment with spicy or hot foods.  I've personally have never know Jim to be adventurous  beyond a few shakes of crushed red peppers on his pizza.

Last summer I spent most nights bed ridden with a terrible bouts of pregnancy induced vomiting and migraine headaches.  On occasion Jim would fill these lonely nights by having a few of his guy friends over for beer, dinner on the grill, and swimming.  One such evening his friend, Chris, made grilled jalapeno poppers.  The next morning Jim raved about how delicious they were and how sorry he was I was sick and missed out on enjoying them.  I was kind of surprised, knowing he wasn't really a hot & spicy kind of guy but he noted that they weren't that hot and he really enjoyed them.

Enjoyed them so much that he decided to grow four jalapeno plants in the garden this year.  He has been waiting with the adrenaline filled anticipation of a kid on Christmas Eve for his first crop of jalapenos. Sunday evening he finally was able to prepare his long awaited delicacy.....

First there was a little sweat along his brow. Then he started commented that his thumbs were burning (he had used bare thumbs to remove the seeds). The fresh jalapenos stuffed with blue cheese hit the the grill, his excitement causing him to temporarily forget that he has almost lost normal sensation in his thumbs.  He is salivating now (or is it more sweat?!).  Meanwhile I'm in the kitchen preparing the sweetest foods I can think of, sweet potato fries and a salad with raspberry vinaigrette.  I bring a fan onto the porch and blow it directly at Jim's chair.  We are plating up our food.  Jim is shirtless and increasing in sweat production.   He serves up two poppers for each of us.  I let him take the first bite, waiting only a few minutes I give mine a try.  Pretty good!  

Then a fire is set from Jim's stomach clear through to his mouth, pushing through every inch of his causing in the form of a smooth, glistening layer of perspiration. I think his eyes even started to water.  His is only mildly consoled by the surrounding food on his plate and the cold Corona in his hand.  I on the other hand am experiencing nothing.  A bit of heat in the back of my mouth but in a good and expected way.  Riesling and I proceed to giggle at Daddy as he hangs his head in defeat, claiming he can't bear to eat even a second one (he used 8 peppers, equally 16 poppers).  I tried a second in one gulp and was kicked in the a** by the sudden flames consuming my gut.  Apparently the first one was a trick!  I however refused to be defeated (and hated to see all those jalapenos go to waste) and after a short recovery period drudged forward.  

It turned out that not all of the jalapenos were of equal heat.  I'm not sure if Jim left some seeds behind in a few or it's just the nature of the beast.  After I gulped down a few more I convinced Jim to try again.  He agreed only if I sampled a bite of each one first.  He managed to eat several more, sweating buckets and guzzling beer and raspberry vinaigrette drenched salad in between.  It was seriously the funniest thing though.  He was totally suffering the whole time but wanted so badly to for those poppers to be as good as he remembered that he forced himself to keep eating them.  Riesling was in a cheery ole mood and seemed to realize that it was appropriate to laugh at him.  It was the best Sunday evening I've had in awhile!

If you're interested in trying them for yourself....

Grilled Jalapeno Poppers

Slice jalapeno lengthwise.  Remove seeds and ribbing (Jim recommends using gloves!). Stuff with blue cheese.  Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray and place jalapeno open side up.  Cook over medium heat ~5 minutes or until cheese is melted and pepper is slightly softened.  Enjoy at your own risk.   

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My little bed bug

Our central air is broken and we're not planning on fixing it.  At least for the time being.  There's a chance a few hundred dollars could put a band aid on it in the hopes that it will work until the end of the summer, but then again maybe not.  It's old, really old.  And needs to be completely replaced and upgraded, which means big bucks.  The one thing I can't stand is trying to sleep in the terrible heat and humidity, so we bought a new window unit and put it in our bedroom.

I was relaying our predicament to one of my patients last week.  She couldn't believe we could survive such a heat wave with one little window unit (I survived my whole childhood in the midwest with a huge box fan sitting inches away from my bed and blowing directly at my face).

"and what about the baby, " she asked.  I replied that Riesling is in a pack n play beside my bed, so she's nice and cool at night too.  "God Bless you!" was her response.  She was obviously surprised and thought it necessary to praise me on such an accomplishment.

I didn't really respond and our conversation continued on about the extreme heat and then on to staying properly hydrated.  But later I got to thinking....God Bless me for what?  Since when does having my wee little babe of only 4 month within arms reach throughout the dark of night make me a saint?  I know there is a lot of controversy about co sleeping amongst moms, doctors, and whoever is making up the parenting rules out there.   I know there are concerns about safety, attachment, lack of intimacy for the parents, blah, blah, blah.  But, if I'm being honest, Riesling is next to my bed (and frequently in my bed) because it's easier for me.  In some regards it has little to do with her.  She's typically a good sleeper and only stirs around once, maybe twice, to fill her belly.  When I hear that faint little whimper I lean over, scoop her up, and latch her on before she even think about opening her eyes.  Easy like Sunday morning.  Throw in a monitor and the 90 seconds it would take me to get to her crib in the other room and we are likely to have a full on awake baby.  And getting an awake Riesling back to sleep in the middle of the night is another story entirely.

I know there are babes out there that sleep like a log the whole night through and other kiddos that do well with the crib right from the start.  For me co-sleeping in one form or another just makes sense.  It seems like what nature intended.  Do you think there are little cubs of some sort getting dropped off at the cave, bush, or cubby hole next door to sleep so the mama can get a full nights sleep?  Heck no because one little whimper and that babe is dead.  Eventually our little cubs will find their independence and need mama less throughout the night, finding their way to a cozy little den of their own, decorated with a pink crib shirt and crisp floral sheets.  For some babes that day may come sooner than for others.  But does one way or another make us saints or better mothers? 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Letter from Riesling

Dear Friends & Family,

I need your help!  I'm trying to hard to figure out how to get to things that I can't reach and nothing seems to be working.  At first I thought if I rolled over enough times it would bring me closer, but somehow that usually makes me further away?!  Recently I've been wiggling around in a circle on my belly and that sometimes work if my toy is close by.  But how to I get to stuff that is far away?  I lay on my belly and kick, kick, kick my legs and slap my hands on the ground and I get nowhere!  So frustrating. I hope someone can give me some good advice.  

Love always, 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Someone discovered their vocal cords today....

This went on for about 2 straight hours.  Varying her range and pitch as she thought necessary.  

Sorry for the weird angle.  I have to sneak up on her sometimes because often if she sees the camera she gets distracted.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summer food

I think the biggest difference between  day to day life before Riesling and present day is I no longer take pictures of food.  Probably for the best.  Your eyes can longer persuade you to try my concoctions.  I guess you'll just have  to trust me.  Then again maybe no one has followed me into the kitchen even with my fancy photos in which case my dreams of becoming a master chef are completely crushed.  The phrase "don't quit your day job" probably exists for a reasoning.  Anyways...

Corn Black Bean Salad

2 C. frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 yellow pepper
1-2 fire roasted red peppers, depending on size
1 medium red onion,
1 lime
olive oil(~2Tbsp)
salt & pepper

Dice peppers & onion. Mix with black beans.  Add cilantro & juice of one lime.  Drizzle with olive until everything is evenly coated.  Mix in frozen corn last then salt, & pepper to taste. Serve chilled (the frozen corn will thaw quickly and help chill the other ingredients). 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Back to Belly

Ever since Riesling figured out how to roll over she only wants to sleep on her belly.  If she's is asleep when I put her in her crib I place her on her back and within minutes, if not seconds, she's over on her belly.  All that effort and worry about 'back is best' and she's over it already.  That little butt sticking up in the air is oh so cute though.

She just had her 4 month check up and landed in the 95+ percentile for height and weight.  Not only is she of monster size, she is also super strong.  She rolls over consecutively and pushing off anything near by if she is trying to reach something.  She pushes up to standing ANY chance you gets and sticks her chest out proudly as she thinks about sprinting out of my hands.  Her little arms and legs are just busy, busy, busy kicking and whaling around with a joyful fierceness you have to see to believe.  I've taking to calling her "Riese the Beast"  (Riese pronounced like Reese Witherspoon, so it kinda of has that rhyming sound).

When she's in a moment of intense giggling and beating around her extremities or getting that crazed grin like she going to take off running any second, I start chanting...

Riese the Beast.  
Riese the Beast. 
Riese the Beast! 

And the crowd goes wild.......

She laughs, raising her arms up in triumph.  
I love this kid!

Ps.  Did you know Riese means giant in German?!  Too funny, right? 

Monday, July 2, 2012


“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

~John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

Letters from Riesling

Hello Friends & Family,

Summer is so much fun!  I got to go on my first big hike last weekend.  I really loved being in the woods and looking up at all the trees.  My mom carried me close to her chest so I felt safe and secure.  I've also been swimming a lot.  At first I wasn't so sure that the whole idea of a giant bathtub, but now that it is really hot outside and the water is not so cold, I'm really loving it.  I splash and kick and play until I can hardly keep my eyes open. 

I have been perfecting my tumbling skills and can now roll over several times in a row.  It sometimes helps me get to something I'm trying to reach, like my favorite toys.  The one thing I can't catch is that crazy dog!  She's is so cute and soft and I really want to pet her and squeeze her but she's always running away from me.  She licks my face which makes me laugh then runs away.  Blowing on my belly and tickling under my chin also make me laugh pretty hard too.  Being four months old is pretty fun!  I can't wait to see what fun we have the rest of the summer.

Love always,